07-27-2017 Board Workshop (Secondary Schools of National Prominence)

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met for a Board Workshop on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, July 20, 2017. The affidavit of publication with a copy of the ad attached is filed in the Affidavit File in the Board Office.

Opening Exercises
1. Opening Exercises

Minutes: Chairperson Belford called the meeting to order at: 2:06 p.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Minutes: Members Present:  Misty Belford, John Craig, Tina Descovich, Matt Susin and Andy Ziegler

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Chairperson Belford led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. Presentation - SSNP
Attachment: Secondary Schools of National Prominence - Board Workshop.pdf

Dr. Stephanie Soliven, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Leading and Learning, provided the board with a presentation regarding Secondary Schools of National Prominence (SSNP).

She began by providing the history of SSNP. One of her first tasks was to identify relevance. She said that SSNP is a guiding set of strategies.  She continued that income has a dramatic difference on the amount of students who enter post-secondary education and asked if we should we pre-determine a child's future based on household income?

Dr. Soliven discussed the key components of the original plan. She recommended some new language. She discussed the reason for increased course requirements.

She believes it is important to maintain a set of strategies. She provided a summary of recommended direct and indirect changes and long term recommendations.

Among the changes recommended by BPS secondary-school leaders:

  • Flexibility in the required science sequence. For example: Instead of taking biology, chemistry and then physics – or three years of integrated science – students could take a different rigorous science course such as astronomy or marine biology in their third year.
  • Administration the SAT college-entrance exam instead of the ACT to all BPS juniors, with flexibility for other students. The SAT better aligns to BPS preparation materials and state standards.  The SAT also costs less:  $43 per student versus $55 per student for the ACT.
  • A recommended two years of foreign language courses – considered a “gatekeeper” for entrance to Florida’s State University System.
  • Addition of fine- and performing-arts classes under the “rigorous course” requirement.
  • Elimination of most additional paperwork for counselors.
  • Flexible scheduling of parent meetings

Each Board member was appreciative of the work put in by Dr. Soliven and her team and asked questions.  Discussion ensued surrounding credits required, and seven-period days vs. six.

Members asked for data that compares the costs and benefits of continuing to have seven-period days instead of six-period days which is part of SSNP.



5. Presentation Proposed Armored Cars
Attachment: Proposed Armored Car Program.pdf

Chief Financial Officer, Pennie Zuercher, provided the Board with an overview of plans to centralize accounting to help prevent theft. One of the recommendations of this plan is to contract with an armored car service to pick up school deposits. Ms. Zuercher commented that this service is but one spoke in the wheel.

Some board members still expressed reservations about the armored car service.  Ms. Zuercher said that based on her experience, this piece is a sound method of ensuring good controls and timely deposits.

There was discussion about the types of vehicles that would be used and Ms. Zuercher replied that they would be unmarked vehicles.  There were questions about whether or not the employees driving the cars and making the pickup and deposits would be armed and whether or not armed employees can enter schools. Ms. Zuercher explained that General Counsel, Amy Envall was already looking into this matter.    

Mr. Zeigler had asked Ms. Zuercher what the ROI amount was for bookkeepers and cafeteria managers not having to go to the bank to make deposits. Ms. Zuercher estimated the dollar amount to be $159,044.  This included mileage that is claimed by these employees as reimbursement. Ms. Ziegler felt this amount provided justification.

Mr. Susin still felt the armored cars would not solve issues of theft from schools and argued that the dollars spent on this service could be given back to the classroom.

6. Board Questions and Discussion


Questions were answered during and after each presentation.

Closing Remarks
7. Closing Remarks


Board members thanked both Dr. Soliven and Ms. Zuercher for the information.  Both items will be finalized and voted upon at the September 7, Final Public Budget Hearing.

8. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairperson Belford adjourned the meeting at: 4:46 p.m.

For further details pertaining to this meeting, please refer to the published video on the School Board of Brevard County's website (www.brevardschools.org).